Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pics and Links from Shad Seminar

Here are a few pictures, links and tips from the Shad Fishing the James River seminar I presented at Appomattox River Company (3/6/12)

There's a saying... when the dogwoods are blooming in Richmond, it's time to go shad fishing.  Usually mid-March to early May with primetime usually being mid-April, shad fishing can be a blast on ultra light or fly tackle.  Shad spoons a foot or so behind a swivel and 1/4 ounce egg sinker can be effective, as well as shad darts, too.  But my personal preference is to use a 6wt. flyrod with 250 grain sinking tip flyline and various shad flies.  

Hickory shad will be there in huge numbers, but included in the mix are a few species that you can not keep to take home or use for bait.  

Source: Google Images

It is illegal to have American Shad in your possession.  The way to tell the difference is see if the fish has an underbite.  

Source:  Google Images
Hickory shad (ok to keep) have a large underbite that sticks way out past their upper lip.  American shad have lower jaws that tuck neatly into their upper lip.  

Blueback herring and Alewives look a lot like American shad, just smaller and their jaw tucks into their upper lip too.  It is now illegal to have either Blueback Herring or Alewives in your possession as well.  

The James River is tidal up to the fall line (14th street bridge).  The water will flow one way near Richmond, but the water will rise and fall with the tide.  My preference is for the incoming tide, but when the fish are thick, it doesn't seem to matter.  Here is the tide chart for the James River near Richmond.  James River Tides (at Richmond)

More important than the tide is the amount of water flowing.  If the cubic feet of discharge per second gets above 10,000 it becomes very difficult to get the lure or fly down to the required depth.   I usually don't bother going if it's above 12,000 cubic feet per second.  

Here is the link for James River Discharge Flow

and another for the river level predictions

Anncarrow's Landing is the main boat launch area.  Link.

There is also a canoe and kayak launch right off 14th Street, on the north side of the river, immediately south of the flood wall.  It's a small area, with big steps to get to the water. 

My buddy Josh Dolin put together this nice video with some of his tips. 


  1. Thanks for posting this Rob - it doesn't look like I will be able to make it tonight. Sorry for the short notice - family commitments.

  2. Thanks for updating this Rob! Great video addition!


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